By Coach Ashley

With new offerings at the gym and Port members’ desire to constantly learn and improve, you might be wondering what options are right for you. You might also be wrestling with the question of how much is too much? You may have heard that more is not always better, but it feels difficult to slow down a little in one direction, in order to grow in another.

The answer to what is right for you is going to be different for everyone, but it comes down to asking yourself, “what is my goal?” Is your goal to get stronger? To build your endurance capacity? To do well in The Open? Do you want to improve your gymnastics skills? Are you looking to lose weight? Are you wanting to continue to improve your fitness overall? Do you want to take a break from the barbell but still want to tone and get stronger?

We are so lucky to be able to provide an avenue towards each and every one of those questions. The tricky part, however, is trying to do all of them at once. When you have a more specific goal in mind, it pays dividends to direct most of your energy in that direction. For example, if you are looking to get stronger and improve your Olympic Lifting technique, then prioritizing our current strength cycle on Tuesdays and Fridays and attending Coach Jamie’s class on Sundays make sense, with perhaps a day of CrossFit or a few days of running or cycling mixed in. 

Another example. If you are trying to build your endurance capacity and think PortSweat seems like a good option for you, then perhaps squatting heavy on Tuesday before Sweat class wouldn’t help you give your best effort to class and thus, may not help you reach your goal of building your engine. It may make more sense to prioritize your hour of PortSweat class on Tuesdays and Thursdays and come to CrossFit class on Friday and Sunday to still add a little strength work. 

Along with deciding what you want to work on, another important piece of the puzzle is building purposeful rest days. When you sit down and plan your week and the sessions and classes that make the most sense for you, 2-3 rest days need and should be a part of your plan as well. In order to explain why this is so important, I want to hit you with some knowledge that really resonated with me from Performance Nutrition Coach Mike Molloy.

To paraphrase, he explains that: 

“High-intensity training generates a significant stress response, which we immediately respond with a flight or fight response, as well as a more sustained cortisol response. As a result, the body adapts and in the short term, this adaptation is beneficial, generating muscle mass, improving fitness overall. 

However, human bodies are not designed to deal with a near-fight or flight response 6-7 days a week. That short-term stress response that was supposed to help us build and get fitter now becomes more chronic. An elevated cortisol response breaks down muscle mass to create more fuel, fuel that the body thinks it needs to store away. 

This is where rest days come in. This is when we give our brains and bodies time to relax and regenerate and find balance again where it doesn’t have to worry about repairing micro-tears in the muscles, deal with cortisol spikes, or try to recover glycogen stores.” 

If you want to make sure all of your hard work is working for you, plan for those days off! Can they be active? Absolutely. Walk your dog, go for an easy swim, find some trails nearby to take a long walk along, or spend a good amount of time working on your mobility. What they should not be is long, high heart rate, high volume repetitions. Can they be in-active? They sure can! Be sure to hydrate, eat plenty of foods full of micronutrients, and sit on your couch if you’d like! 

If you are looking for some guidance or some suggestions on how to set some personal and purposeful intentions for your training at The Port, please reach out. Especially if you have some more specific goals in mind, it may mean a more specific plan. Keep in mind, you have some personal training sessions built into your membership! Those could be used to work on skills, to chat about goal-setting, to spend some time on the barbell, or whatever else you might want.

– Coach Ashley

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